Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Relative Poverty, British Social Policy Writing and Public Experience

  • Andrew Dunn (a1)

Abstract

Relative poverty, a concept developed by left-wing social scientists, categorises as ‘poor’ those who fall seriously behind normal nationwide material standards. This article argues that the widespread view that the word ‘poverty’ means ‘relative poverty’, which in left-dominated social policy academia often extends to implying that those who do not define poverty this way are necessarily misguided, has led to an incomplete portrayal of poorer British people's lived experience. The article examines published empirical work, before presenting findings from British Social Attitudes surveys and interviews with forty unemployed Jobseeker's Allowance claimants and thirty employed people. Both the existing and new findings exposed aspects of public attitudes and experience which resonate with unanswered academic criticisms of defining poverty as relative poverty. These public contributions have tended to be glossed over or treated dismissively by social policy authors, despite them attaching importance to Left-friendly aspects of poorer people's experience and attitudes.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Alcock, P. (2006) Understanding Poverty, 3rd edn, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Banting, K. (1979) Poverty, Politics and Policy, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
BBC (2015) ‘Economy tracker: unemployment’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10604117 [accessed 19 April 2015].
Beresford, P. and Croft, S. (1995) ‘It's our problem too! Challenging the exclusion of poor people from poverty discourse’, Critical Social Policy, 15, 44–5, 7595.
Beresford, P., Green, D., Lister, R. and Woodard, K. (1999) Poverty First Hand: Poor People Speak for Themselves, London: Child Poverty Action Group.
Bradshaw, J. (2013), Consultation on Child Poverty Measurement, PSE response paper No.8, January, http://www.poverty.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/PSE%20policy%20working%20paper%20No.%208,%20Bradshaw,%20CONSULTATION%20ON%20CHILD%20POVERTY%20MEASUREMENT.pdf [accessed 24 December 2015].
Clery, E., Lee, L. and Kunz, Z. (2013) Public Attitudes to Poverty and Welfare, 1983–2011, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Cribb, J., Hood, A., Joyce, R. and Phillips, D. (2013) Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2013, IFS Report R81, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Deacon, A. (2002) Perspectives on Welfare, Buckingham: Open University Press.
Dunn, A. (2013) ‘Only fools? Reconsidering the relationship between commitment to the work ethic and educational attainment’, Journal of Education and Work, 26, 1, 120.
Dunn, A. (2014) Rethinking Unemployment and the Work Ethic, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Golding, P. (ed.) (1986) Excluding the Poor, London: Child Poverty Action Group.
Golding, P. and Middleton, S. (1982) Images of Welfare: Press and Public Attitudes to Poverty, Oxford: Martin Robertson.
Gordon, D. (2010) ‘Section III: poverty’, in, Walker, A., Gordon, D., Levitas, R., Phillimore, P., Phillipson, C., Salomon, M. E. and Yeates, N., The Peter Townsend Reader, Bristol: Policy Press, 129268.
Green, D. G. (1990) Equalizing People: Why Social Justice Threatens Liberty, London: Institute of Economic Affairs Health and Welfare Unit.
Joseph, K. and Sumption, J. (1979) Equality, London: John Murray.
Lansley, S. and Mack, J. (2015) Breadline Britain: The Rise of Mass Poverty, London: Oneworld.
Levitas, R. (2005) The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labour, 2nd edn, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lister, R. (2004) Poverty, Oxford: Blackwell.
McKay, S. (2004) ‘Poverty or preference: what do “consensual deprivation indicators” really measure?’, Fiscal Studies, 25, 2, 201–23.
Marsland, D. (1996) Welfare or Welfare State? London: Macmillan.
Nolan, T. and Whelan, C. (1996) Poverty, Deprivation and Resources, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pahl, R. (1994) ‘Balancing all forms of work’, in Bryson, A. and McKay, S. (eds.), Is It Worth Working? London: Policy Studies Institute, 6076.
Pantazis, C., Gordon, D. and Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain: The Millennium Survey, Bristol: Policy Press.
Patrick, R. (2014) ‘Working on welfare: findings from a qualitative longitudinal study into the lived experiences of welfare reform in the UK’, Journal of Social Policy, 43, 4, 705–25.
Piachaud, D. (1981) ‘Peter Townsend and the Holy Grail’, New Society, 10 September, 419–21.
Ransome, P. (2005) Work, Consumption and Culture, London: Sage.
Runciman, W. G. (1966) Relative Deprivation and Social Justice, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Sen, A. (1983) ‘Poor, relatively speaking’, Oxford Economic Papers, 35, 153–69.
Shildrick, T. and MacDonald, R. (2013) ‘Poverty talk: how people experiencing poverty deny their poverty and why they blame “the poor”’, Sociological Review, 61, 285303.
Spicker, P. (2007) The Idea of Poverty, Bristol: Policy Press.
Titmuss, R. M. (1962) Income Distribution and Social Change, London: Unwin.
Townsend, P. (1954) ‘Measuring poverty’, British Journal of Sociology, 5, 2, 130–7.
Townsend, P. (1979) Poverty in the United Kingdom, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Townsend, P. (1981) ‘Peter Townsend replies’, New Society, 17 September, 477–8.
Townsend, P. (1985) ‘A sociological approach to the measurement of poverty – a rejoinder to Professor Amartya Sen’, Oxford Economic Papers, 37, 659–68.
Wardle, T. and Walker, B. (2013) Setting the Record Straight: A CSJ Response to the Truth and Lies about Poverty Report, London: Centre for Social Justice.
Welshman, J. (2012) From Transmitted Deprivation to Social Exclusion, 2nd edn, Bristol: Policy Press.
Westergaard, J. and Resler, H. (1976) Class in a Capitalist Society, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Keywords

Relative Poverty, British Social Policy Writing and Public Experience

  • Andrew Dunn (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed